Jazz Jennings, transgender star of TLC’s I Am Jazz, announced that she has been accepted by both Harvard University and Pomona College and shared her excitement and acceptance letters via her Instagram Stories. Some fans took to social media as well with claims that gender and her show were the reasons that Jazz had been accepted into college, not her academic performance.
Jazz’s brother, Sander, was quick to jump to his sister’s defense stating, “Her test scores, grades, and extracurricular activities met all the requirements for Pomona and Harvard.”
While Jennings admits that her Trans advocacy and show may have helped, she proudly shared her academic accomplishments to contradict the haters. Her class ranking 1 of 113 and a weighted cumulative GPA of 5.4138 speak to her hard work and support her controversial decision to leave high school and finish her education by way of virtual school.
Jazz reportedly experienced increased anxiety and stress-induced weight gain which prompted the need for a change. The compounded pressures of school, doing a show, and her advocacy work became overwhelming; and it was important to her to get her weight under control as she prepared for her June 2018 gender confirmation surgery. “If you’re healthier that makes you better prepared for surgery, which makes a thousand percent sense,” Jennings explained in a YouTube video.
Gender confirmation surgery gives “transgender individuals the physical appearance and functional abilities of the gender they know themselves to be,” according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). This is an important and exciting step for some in overcoming gender dysphoria and improving their quality of life. Feeling better about yourself can better prepare you for living your life day-to-day.
College is not without its challenges. According to The Williams Institute at The UCLA School of Law, “…college can play an important role in facilitating gender identity exploration—such as by providing the supports and resources needed to allow students to navigate this process while staying in college.”
Jazz will be deciding between two academic institutions with processes and policies in place to support Trans students. The Harvard Transgender Task Force (TTF) strives to build community with Trans people and their allies across the Harvard campus; while The Queer Resource Center at Pomona provides Ally Training to create a safer, more welcoming, and more inclusive campus for all LGBTQIA identifying persons.
The 18-year-old Jennings has yet to announce her college choice, but has shared that her reality show will be back for a sixth season on TLC. Fans will learn where Jazz will be attending college during the upcoming season.
At 13 Jazz did this Q&A 2 years into blockers and before her trans status was widely known, endearing us, and terrifying others.